We have been carrying around two big chairs on our trip around Australia and on the arrival of Linda and Alan coming to join us for 3 weeks we needed a couple more chairs for camp. Our thoughts were we could get a couple of cheap camping chairs that we could dispose of after or look for a decent couple of chairs that we would really like to use going forwards. Chair shopping is an interesting subject (really, it is!) as everyone has slightly different requirements and there are so many to choose from these days. Head off to a camping show and look around one of the bigger outdoor equipment shops and I could count around 40 different ones to choose from just from one business.
What were we looking for?
- Something that would be comfortable – this is usually a compromise as you go for bigger chairs they are often more comfortable with no bits digging in but then often they are huge to pack away taking up lots of precious space.
- Pack Size – As space is a premium for us we wanted something that would not be anywhere near as big as our current chairs.
- Weight – ideally reasonably lightweight but this was not so critical as we wanted to carry them in our Drifta DOT camping trailer.
- Breathability/Drying properties – Certainly in this hot climate something that will breathe a bit and then dry off quickly when wet.
- Not a nightmare to pack – Why is it nearly every chair on the market makes bags a size too small for the chair, causing lots of frustration and normally ripped bags.
Now we are pretty average weights and sizes, if not on the smaller side so having something for the larger gentleman was not a consideration of ours, neither was cup holders which we never seemed to use.
The plan was that when we popped into Drifta HQ in Gloucester we would take a look in the shop and try out the Snow Peak chairs manufactured in Japan and with some great designs. We tried these and whilst they were certainly comfortable it didn’t tick all our boxes as per the bullets above. Then we went over and sat on one of the Helinox chairs which took us by surprise and off guard! I had seen the Drifta video on the lightweight Helinox chairs and dismissed them as a more lightweight camp chair that didn’t look that comfortable. However, pop yourself down onto one of these and you feel yourself being caught off guard. How can this chair be as comfortable as it is? On closer inspection we found all of our boxes being ticked as follows:
- Something that would be comfortable – Well yes, it is amazingly comfortable with a long back that gives you a really good seating position and supports your back with no bits to dig in. What no armrests? No but that did not matter at all and I don’t miss them. I could certainly snooze in this chair. There is also a little bonus where you can take the bag and pop something soft in it and it velcros on as a head rest. Personally I don’t use this feature but maybe one day I will.
- Pack Size – Amazing a chair that folds away so small using only a small amount of space. I didn’t think I would find a chair as comfortable that packs so small.
- Weight – Very lightweight (1.3 kgs) and also very strong (up to 145 kg)
- Breathability – Yes, it has a nice mesh around the bottom of the back and is made of a strong fabric that does dry off quite nicely.
- Easy to Pack – Like a dream. I have popped together a video of me popping it together and it packs down just as easily. No wrestling with the bag on this one. (Packed up size 500x150x100)
Have I found the perfect chair by accident? Maybe, at the moment I love it and our old chairs don’t come out the trailer anymore now that Linda and Alan have returned home.
Are there any downsides? The only one I can find is that they are pretty Light so do blow over easily in the wind so need to make sure they are secure when off to bed, but that’s it and of course I like the fact it is lightweight. Maybe I could also add that they are expensive for a chair but not sure you would find something that ticked all the boxes like this one.
Drifta stock a number of the Helinox products including the Sunset Chairs ($189) with the long back that we purchased as well as a smaller more lightweight chair, a table and also a stretcher/camp bed. If you are after a Helinox Chair then mention this review to Drifta to get $20 off your purchase (email email@example.com to get a coupon code).